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This poem is taken from PN Review 101, Volume 21 Number 3, January - February 1995.

Night Reflection Vernon Scannell


Wide-angle shot: the train slides through the night,
Linked carriages, bright vertebrae. It snakes
Through fields and woods, spans rivers, roads and lakes,
Climbs hills or pierces them, going out of sight,
Then reappears and worms across the moors.
Now cut to passenger inside the train,
Alone in his compartment as the rain
Splinters on the window while he snores
Softly to the rocking of his head
From side to side, more or less in time
With flanges' iron tune and pounding rhyme.
Then sleep is splattered suddenly by dread
As violent jerk and shudder of the train
Propels him forward. When he fully wakes
Alarm dissolves: he hears the hiss of brakes
And then, more faint, susurrus of the rain.
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